Eyes on the Earth – Click for 3D Animation
EARTH WATCH – NASA
Viewed from space, the most striking feature of our planet is the water. In both liquid and frozen form, it covers 75% of the Earth’s surface. It fills the sky with clouds. Water is practically everywhere on Earth, from inside the planet’s rocky crust to inside the cells of the human body.
Like rivers of liquid water, glaciers flow downhill, with tributaries joining to form larger rivers. But where water rushes, ice crawls. As a result, glaciers gather dust and dirt, and bear long-lasting evidence of past movements. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science
One of the fascinating aspects of viewing Earth at night is how well the lights show the distribution of people. In this view of Egypt, the population is shown to be almost completely concentrated along the Nile Valley, just a small percentage of the country’s land area.
Cloudless skies allowed a clear view of dust and hydrogen sulfide plumes along the coast of Namibia in early August 2010. Multiple dust plumes blow off the coast toward the ocean, most or all of them probably arising from streambeds. The winds are hot and dry as they pass over Namibia’s coastal plain, where they are prone to stir fine sediments. Even with dust plumes overhead, the marked change in land cover is obvious along the Kuiseb River.
Off the east coast of New Zealand, cold rivers of water that have branched off from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current flow north past the South Island and converge with warmer waters flowing south past the North Island. The surface waters of this meeting place are New Zealand’s most biologically productive. This image of the area on October 25, 2009, from the MODIS sensor on NASA’s Aqua satellite shows the basis for that productivity: large blooms of plantlike organisms called phytoplankton.
Tens of thousands of people living within the danger zone of Mayon Volcano in the Philippines were forced to evacuate to emergency shelters in mid-December 2009 as small earthquakes, incandescent lava at the summit and minor ash falls suggested a major eruption was on the way. Image Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen
This photo from the International Space Station shows the salt ponds of one of Africa’s major producers of soda ash (sodium carbonate) and salt. Soda ash is used for in making glass, in metallurgy, in the detergent industry and in chemical manufacture.
Red, salt-loving algae in the ponds indicate that the salinity of the evaporating water is medium to high.
This composite image, which has become a popular poster, shows a global view of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images. NASA researchers have used these images of nighttime lights to study weather around urban areas.